can you pray silently
How to Pray

Can You Pray Silently? Is Silent Prayer Okay?

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Can You Pray Silently?

Depending on your personality, you either prefer silent prayer or praying out loud.

Praying out loud, especially in public, can feel daunting for introverts like myself. Personally, I don’t like the thought of praying in public. I’m okay with praying out loud at home, when I pray with my family, but not so much outside of my familiar bubble.

In fact, when I pray with my 4 year old, I always pray out loud. Mostly because I want to teach her how to pray. And when I pray out loud, she can hear the words I use and how I approach Jesus.

She’s so used to me praying out loud at home, whether this is before meals, before bed time, or anywhere in between… that she stared at me just the other day when I prayed silently.

I sat down a little later at the table for our meal than her, so I decided to pray another prayer of thanksgiving. Only, silently. I folded my hands, closed my eyes, and prayed. When I opened my eyes again, my daughter looked at me and said: ‘I didn’t hear any words come out of your mouth’.

I smiled and told her I prayed in silence. That Jesus knows our every thought {Is 66:18} and that He can hear silent prayers too. It seemed to be quite the revelation for her!

Since then, I’ve noticed she sometimes tries a silent prayer herself. I then see her lips move a little, just like Eli did when he saw Hannah pray.

can you pray in silence

Can You Pray Silently? Is Silent Prayer Biblical?

The main question that seems to come to mind when we talk about silent prayer is this one: ‘Is silent prayer biblical?’. Well, there’s only one way to find out… check the Bible.

Hannah’s Silent Prayer

In the very first chapter of 1 Samuel we read:

‘And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken’ {1 Samuel 1:12, 13 KJV}.

Just like my own little girl, Hannah too prayed silently with only her lips moving.

Some people say this prayer wasn’t silent because she was still moving her lips, but Eli didn’t hear any words coming out. The Bible even tells us that ‘she spake in her heart’.

And although Hannah didn’t use her voice for this prayer, it was still heard and answered! For we can see in verse 20 that Hannah bare a son. Praise the Lord!

Private Prayer and Silent Prayer

Jesus never really spoke about silent prayer. He never answered specifically “Can you pray silently?”

However, He did mention private prayer in Matthew 6:6 {KJV}. In these verses we read: ‘… when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly’.

Of course, it can be argued that you can still pray out loud in your closet. Yes… yes, you can. But is it then still private?

I know if I’d lock myself up in my closet (or anywhere else in the house) and pray out loud, my family would still be able to hear my petitions to the Lord. How does this then make them private and secret?

What if I’m struggling with something that happened in my family and I bring these out loud to the Lord with my family at home? Would they appreciate hearing my burdens? Would I feel comfortable to express them knowing they might hear? No, I don’t think so. Some things are best kept between Jesus and me.

Pray Always

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 {KJV} we’re told to ‘pray without ceasing’.

Praying is building a relationship with our Lord. The more we pray, the closer our relationship with Him becomes.

Obviously, we cannot be praying every second of the day on our knees. This verse simply means that we need to create a habit of communicating with our Saviour in whatever we do, wherever we are. And not all situations are appropriate for praying out loud.

Jesus Knows Our Thoughts and Hearts

In Psalm 139:2 {KJV} we read: ‘…thou understandest my thought afar off’ showing that God knows what we’re thinking.

This is again proven in Matthew 9 where we see that Jesus could read the thoughts of the scribes. He answered them (in reply to their thoughts that Jesus was blaspheming): ‘Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts’ {Matthew 9:4 KJV}.

It’s also made clear that God knows our very hearts {Acts 15:8; Revelation 2:23} and certainly a lot better than even we do!

There is then no need for us to speak all our burdens, praises, desires, and thoughts out loud in order for them to be heard and answered.

Can I Pray Silently?

As you can see, the Bible doesn’t talk about silent prayer specifically. It doesn’t explicitly confirm the use of silent prayer nor condemn it.

Personally, I do believe that silent prayer is perfectly fine. If it wasn’t, I think Jesus would have told us so.

Whether you pray in silence or out loud, I believe that God hears both kind of prayers. As long as your prayers are earnest, He will hear and answer them.

I don’t believe God will reject any sincere prayer simply because it hasn’t been spoken out loud! It just doesn’t make any sense to believe that a God so merciful as our living God in heaven, who gave His only begotten Son so we could be saved, that He would ignore His saints’ silent prayers.

If you’re still in doubt, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you on how to pray and He will! Ask and you shall receive! Out loud… or in silence. God hears!

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